Uganda blocks film screening over ‘criminal’ gay references

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Embassy of The Netherlands in Uganda has protested the “deplorable” censorship of a film over gay references.

2010 Dutch film The Dinner Club had been set for release in the country, until an objection was filed by the Uganda Media Council.

In its objection, the censorship body cited the film’s “criminal” gay content.

It said: “The film depicts and glorifies homosexuality which is a criminal offence in Uganda.Homosexuality is depicted/spoken about.”

The objection from the Ugandan Media Council
The objection from the Uganda Media Council

The body also took exception to scenes in the film in which women lament that marriage is “hard work”.

It says; “While glorifying homosexuality two women say marriage (presumably to men) is hard work! This is against Ugandan values.”

Taking exception to the language in the film, the censors wrote: “Various scenes with lurid language e.g. gay men saunter away drunk. One says to the other ‘you are a hot chick’.”

A statement from the Dutch Embassy says: “Unfortunately the Embassy has to announce that the screening of the Dutch entrance for the European Film Festival, the film The Dinner Club has been cancelled.

“The Uganda Media Council denied the film a classification rating and decided that the film should not be exhibited anywhere in Uganda.

“The Embassy deplores the decision of the Uganda Media Council and it will withdraw from participation in the European Film Festival in Uganda.”

2010 film The Dinner Club, by Robert Jan Westdij, starred Bracha van Doesburgh, Thom Hoffman and Angela Disk.

A synopsis explains: “Karen (32) and Michel (36) move with their daughter to an exclusive residential area. She soon finds a new close circle of friends: the women of the Dinner Club, and their husbands.

“But when two of the Club members [die by] suicide under suspicious circumstances, Karen starts to have second thoughts about her new friends. She has to choose: will she reveal the truth and dish the dirt, or will she protect the interests of the Dinner Club?”

Check out a trailer for the film below.

Under Uganda’s archaic penal code, “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment.

A harsher anti-gay law was signed into law in 2013, but it was later thrown out by the country’s Supreme Court on technical grounds.

Earlier this year, Pride events in Kampala were raided by police.

The country’s so-called Minister of State for Ethics & Integrity Simon Lokodo recently threatened to arrest anyone who celebrates LGBT rights in public.

In a shameless attempt to link the gay rights activists to paedophilia and prostitution, he claimed: “We are aware that there are inducements, including money, being offered to young people to promote the practice. “